2022 UB Student Innovation Challenge

Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovative Entrepreneurs


Are you working on a great class or research project or just have a bright idea that you want to take to the next level?

Are you interested in creating new and unique solutions that can solve a societal or industry challenge?

Are you an innovator, entrepreneur, or a visionary?

If your answer to any of these questions is YES, then the 2022 Student Innovation Challenge is for you.

Registration is now open!

Closing date for Registration is 25 July 2022

What is UB Student Innovation Challenge?

The 2022 Student Innovation Challenge is a competitive funding initiative designed to assist students with funding to advance their innovative early-stage projects or original ideas and concepts for a technology, product, service, or business innovation. The Challenge provides a platform to encourage students at advanced stages of their study programs across all UB disciplines (undergraduate and graduate) to compete with one another in developing and creating innovative solutions that can solve some important societal and industry problems. The challenge will recognize and reward the innovative thinking and shine a spotlight on the creativity and innovative capacity of students while providing them the opportunity to challenge themselves outside the classroom. It encourages students to deepen their exploration and understanding of the society and industry and apply the knowledge and skills they acquired to achieve real world impact. This aligns with the University Strategy as well as the national development priorities as envisioned in Vision 2036.


The overall objective of the Student Innovation Challenge is to inculcate an innovation driven culture of entrepreneurship by encouraging students to put the theories and concepts they learned into practice and contribute solutions to real world societal problems. The specific objectives of the Challenge are:

  1. To identify the most innovative ideas and concepts generated by UB students.
  2. To catalyze and promote development of creative and innovative ideas and products by UB students.
  3. To provide a platform for UB students to showcase their innovations.

The Challenge

The focus of the Student Innovation Challenge is on developing ideas and concepts that can be developed into solutions for addressing societal and industry problems. Proposals should provide solutions to a clearly defined problem and should demonstrate impact, including environmental, social or community impact, economic impact. Proposals should incorporate the use of new, emerging or improved technologies as part of the proposed solutions. Proposals can be submitted to any one of the following two categories.

Category 1: Societal Challenges

The focus of this category is to find solutions to a wide range of urgent problems and issues within the society, locally and globally, with the aim of improving the quality of life. This is a broad category that is meant to challenge students to think big! Problems/challenges can be identified from any field, including (but not limited to) health and well-being, sanitation, education, agriculture and food, water, housing, transport and infrastructure, energy, environment, etc.

Category 2: Industry Challenges

This category is focused on problems or challenges faced by businesses from any industry or sector. Teams must design a viable and practical business concept that addresses a locally or globally relevant challenge or problem. Solutions must combine the use of technology and innovative business models to address some of the most pressing challenges in the growing economy.

Who can take part?

  1. Currently registered UB students, enrolled full-time or part-time in an undergraduate or postgraduate program in any discipline within the University.
  2. Students must be in good academic standing and within two (2) semesters from completing their study programs at the time when they submit a Concept Note application.
  3. Students may enter as individuals or as Teams of not more than five. A Team diversified with various skills and backgrounds is encouraged.
  4. Teams should select a Team Leader who will act as a point of contact between Office of Research and Development (ORD) and their Team.

Challenge Format:

The Challenge is organized into four main activities:


How to Apply

Applicants should access the call here and complete the following steps:

  1. Team Leaders should create an account and register through the application portal at https://redcap.link/SIC2022. Students must register using their official UB email addresses (i.e. studentID@ub.ac.bw).
  2. Registered Teams will receive an email invitation (sent to the Team Leader only) to attend an Ideation Bootcamp.

  3. After the Bootcamp, Teams will receive a link to submit a Concept Note of their proposed idea/solution.
  4. Selected Teams will be notified and invited to attend a compulsory business plan training workshop facilitated by mentors and experts.
  5. Teams will prepare and do a final pitch to an independent panel of experts/judges.

Judging Criteria

Concept Note Stage

A panel of at least two (2) reviewers will evaluate proposed project ideas based on the following criteria:

  1. A clearly identified societal challenge[1] or industry challenge: Proposals must convey a clear articulation and understanding of the problem, including the affected groups/businesses.
  2. Innovative[2] solutions: Proposed solutions should be original, unique, and timely.

Final Pitch

Teams will pitch their projects in front of a panel of expert judges who will select winning proposals based on the following criteria:

  1. Innovation: Is the solution new or original, or is it a significant improvement of an existing solution? Will it deliver a compelling user experience to the target beneficiary?
  2. Feasibility: How relevant is the proposed solution to the identified problem? How well does the proposed solution solve the problem? Can it be implemented in a real-world setting?
  3. Impact: How does the solution affect the target beneficiary/community? Does the solution have a far reach and market potential?
  4. Go-to-Market strategy and business plan.
  5. Roadmap for development of solution, Team skills, resource needs

Prize Pool

Winners will be selected from the two categories of Societal Challenges and Industry Challenges. There will be three prize levels awarded for each of the categories as follows:

1st Prize: BWP30,000.00

2nd Prize: BWP20,000.00

3rd Prize: BWP15,000.00


19 April 2022:  Innovation Challenge Kick-off – registration officially begins

25 July 2022:  Closing date for Registration

27 – 28 July 2022:  Ideation Bootcamp

29 July 2022:  Concept Note application submissions open

12 August 2022:  Concept Note submission deadline (at 11:59pm)

12 September 2022:  Results for Concept Note Announced

12 September 2022:  Invitation of Selected Teams for 5-day Training Workshop

19 – 23 September 2022:  Training workshop for selected Teams

TBA| October 2022:  Grand Prize Pitch and Networking event

TBA| October 2022:  Awards Ceremonies and Recognition of Winners


Note: Dates on the Timeline are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Any change will be announced to all potential applicants and participants when it happens. 

[1] A societal challenge in this context refers to problems that the society is grappling to resolve. Problems may be local (i.e., affecting only a particular sector or a group of people), national or global and cross cutting such as poverty, food security, access to health, inclusive education, gender disparities, economic growth, unemployment, reliable energy sources, water and sanitation, transportation, etc.

[2] An idea/concept/product is considered innovative if it has not been implemented before and it provides a new solution to a societal problem or contains a significant improvement on an existing solution and must deliver a clear benefit to the target beneficiaries.

In pursuit of academic excellence